Dayton enjoying life at O’s after previous injury woes
- Credit: Archant
The winger missed a large chunk of 2018 with a hamstring problem, but has been a regular again since August
Leyton Orient wide-man James Dayton knows what it takes to be part of a title-winning National League team and is loving life at O’s.
The 29-year-old has at times had to play second fiddle to the likes of Jobi McAnuff, Josh Koroma and top goalscorer Macauley Bonne, but his quality is recognised by those at the club and the supporters too.
Boss Justin Edinburgh is also a big fan of the winger and Dayton is enjoying his football after a tough first half of 2018.
During a 3-2 defeat to Aldershot Town on January 27, the one-time Crystal Palace trainee suffered a hamstring problem and required surgery.
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It cut short his season and after a gruelling summer, he regained a spot in Edinburgh’s starting XI and has been a regular since early August.
After James Brophy finished the 2017/18 campaign so strongly, some wondered if Dayton would have to settle for a place on the bench this term, but the ex-Cheltenham Town ace has played a key role so far.
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He won the National League title back in 2016 with the Robins and is hoping to do something similar with Orient after they endured a testing start to last season under Steve Davis.
“I enjoyed last season,” Dayton said, when reflecting on his time at the O’s since joining in August 2017.
“Obviously before the gaffer (Edinburgh) came in we were on a poor run, but I still felt personally I had performed and contributed.
“I had enjoyed myself before I got the freak injury and it put me out, so I was gutted. It probably ended up taking longer than I expected to get back to where I was last season, but I am really enjoying it here.
“I love it at Leyton Orient and I want to continue to perform and do well and hopefully it helps us keep producing results on the pitch.”
The O’s will take on a club they are very familiar with on Saturday when Gateshead visit the capital.
Orient and the Heed have played five times since October 2017 after two dramatic FA Trophy ties.
Davis was in charge for the first league meeting when Gateshead won 2-0 in E10 on October 24 2017 and then Edinburgh took over.
After a 3-3 draw at Orient in the Trophy quarter-finals, when Steve Watson’s team fought back from three goals down, the Heed won 3-2 in the replay, but Edinburgh’s side did triumph 3-1 on the final day of last season.
The meeting on August 25 this term ended 1-1 with O’s Marvin Ekpiteta netting a minute from time and the latest chapter will take place on Saturday.
Joe Widdowson said: “It will be a tough game. We snatched a late equaliser up there earlier in the season and they are a good team.
“They have good energy and they are a competitive side, so we will expect a hard game, but we are at home. I feel like our home form has been good, so looking forward to it.”